Establish a Clinical Specialty Area

Standards for Approval as a Clinical Specialty Area of Practice (Tenets for Clinical Specialty Certification) are used to approve new clinical specialty areas of practice, and are the sole criteria to be applied by the Council for Clinical Certification in Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology's Committee on Clinical Specialty Certification (CCSC) in determining whether an applicant petitioning group will be successful in establishing a Specialty Certification Board.

A petitioning group may be any group of practitioners in the professions of speech-language pathology and audiology (whether or not a Special Interest Group [SIG] or an Allied and Related Professional Organization [A/RPO] of ASHA) that demonstrates that it represents practitioners of a particular area of clinical practice who wish to petition for approval as a specialty area. In the absence of a formal organization, the petitioning group may submit a petition signed by ASHA members who practice in the area indicating their support of the application.

Tenets for Clinical Specialty Certification

  1. The specialty area is unique from and does not critically overlap the scope of an existing specialty certification.
  2. The specialty area affects a definable population of clients/patients whose needs require a distinct body of knowledge, skills, and experience.
  3. The specialty area represents a distinct and definable body of knowledge and skills, grounded in basic applied research, as well as in principles derived from professional practice.
  4. The specialty area is one in which individual practitioners currently practice and/or are required for delivery of services to clients/patients.
  5. The specialty area has mechanisms for acquisition of the required knowledge, skills, and experience.  

Grant Program for Clinical Specialty Certification

The ASHA Board of Directors approved a grant program to support the establishment of new clinical specialty areas of practice. ASHA will provide financial support through a clinical specialty certification grant program to assist with start-up costs incurred by eligible petitioning groups and newly approved Specialty Certification Boards in order to increase the feasibility of establishing new specialty areas.

Funding through this grant program is criteria-based, and awarded and disbursed in conjunction with distinct phases of the petitioning or specialty board formation process. Approval for funding is predicated upon the grant applicant’s meeting specific eligibility criteria identified for each eligible funding phase.


Petitioning groups interested in establishing a new clinical specialty area and/or applying for a grant should contact the CCSC at for more information.

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